Rachel Temple

Doug Woodburn
clock • 3 min read
Rachel Temple

Rachel Temple

Senior project manager transformation, Tech Data and co-chair of Tech Data's Elevate business resource group, which is dedicated to the empowerment of women within the organisation

What's the most pressing issue preventing progress with diversity today that no one's talking about?

Getting people to engage with diversity and focus on it as an issue is a challenge. Even though we are talking about it more, it's still hard to get their buy-in, their understanding as to why they should care and how they can make a difference and have a positive impact.

What do you believe are the most effective policies and initiatives that companies can implement to promote diversity in their workforce?

Having policies in place on diversity, and the place you probably start is gender. You need to be inclusive and cover a range of topics, so that all employees know that they are being heard, cared for and thought about. That's what we try to do with our business resource groups.

How much progress do you believe the industry has made in diversity since you started working in IT?

It's changed significantly in the 15 years I have been in the industry. The more people talk about it, the more it's acknowledged and addressed. There are now more women in areas other than in marketing and HR. Initiatives like the Women in Channel awards really help. 

What should senior management teams be doing more of to help create a more inclusive industry for everyone?

Talk about it more, engage more and give it more time. Our business resource groups really help our senior management team to focus and understand the issues, as there are so many calls on their time. Ideally, they should become champions for diversity - internally and externally - and support more diverse recruitment. 

How did you first get into the IT industry?

I worked as a project manager in financial services. Tech Data advertised for someone to bring in some new techniques and help them grow the business. I applied and got the job. I liked the idea of using my expertise in a new field and being able to make a difference. 

What have been some of your experiences (both good and bad) with how the IT industry has historically approached diversity?

The IT industry has been seen as a bit of a ‘boys' club' and quite male dominated in the past. That has certainly improved with unconscious bias training and diversity initiatives creating more awareness. I think there has been a shift of mindset in terms of what is and is not appropriate. 

Who have been your biggest role models in your professional life, and how have they helped you to succeed?

People who have been supportive, encouraged me and given me confidence to put myself forward, and been a sounding board, welcomed new ideas and who have recognised and celebrated the contributions of diverse teams and individuals. 

Do you think companies should be compelled to publish ‘ethnicity pay gap' data?

Sharing data is always helpful as it can highlight where something needs to be done. Reporting on the gender pay gap has and is having an impact as it helps to create an understanding of the problem. 

Do you believe Covid has hampered or helped gender diversity efforts in the IT industry?

I think it has probably stalled them to a degree. Women tend to be primary caregivers and had to take a step back or go on furlough. But people are now more conscious of that and of course, as a result of Covid, there is more home and hybrid working, which is a positive. 

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